Monday, March 31, 2008

Drivers Reminded Not to Barrel Through Work Zones

JEFFERSON CITY - Too many Missouri Department of Transportation employees can tell harrowing stories of near misses in work zones and accidents that left them in the ditch, on top of their truck or in the hospital. One message these workers have for Missouri motorists is: "When you see orange signs, they are there for a reason. Slow down and be alert."

As highway construction again gears up for the year, MoDOT is working to prevent work zone accidents by reminding motorists, "Don't Barrel Through Work Zones." Billboard and radio advertising throughout the state will carry that message through the construction season.

MoDOT is also sponsoring Operation Orange for the second year to increase work zone awareness and honor fallen workers by lighting state landmarks orange during Work Zone Awareness Week, April 7-11. In addition to MoDOT buildings statewide, other facilities that will be lit orange include the St. Louis Science Center Planetarium, Busch Stadium, the St. Louis Zoo, the Boone County Courthouse, the Shelter Insurance Gardens' fountain in Columbia, the Emerson Bridge in Cape Girardeau, Hammons Field in Springfield and the Branson Landing.

More information about Operation Orange can be found at
"Work zone deaths and injuries are preventable," MoDOT Director Pete Rahn said. "Most often they are caused by inattention. We need drivers to be alert."

Education and enforcement efforts, along with improved engineering measures, appear to be paying off. In 2007, five people were killed in work zones, a 74 percent decrease from 2006 when 19 people were killed. Work zone injuries decreased more than 33 percent. There were approximately 800 people injured in 2007 work zones, compared to 1,190 in 2006.

According to Missouri statistics, most work zone crashes are caused by inattention, excessive speed and following too closely. Motorists are the ones most likely to be killed or injured in a work-zone crash.

Work zones will be all over the state again this year as MoDOT continues its Better Roads, Brighter Future initiative. The plan calls for improvements on 5,600 more miles of major roadways by 2011 and will bring 85 percent of Missouri's roadways up to good condition.

The Better Roads, Brighter Future program targets highways carrying 80 percent of all traffic on the state highway system-that's 103 million miles traveled a day. When the program is complete at the end of 2011, the improved roads will prevent approximately 85 disabling injuries and save 10 lives every year.

Beginning this year, crews will also be working hard on the Interstate 64 construction project in St. Louis, as well as the kcICON project to improve Interstate 29 and Interstate 35 in north Kansas City, including a new Christopher S. Bond Bridge. Work will also begin on the Safe and Sound Bridge Improvement Program, which will improve 800 bridges over the next five years.

For more information about construction projects statewide or to access the 2008 statewide construction map, visit or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

Editor's note: Attached is a partial list of buildings and landmarks that will participate in Operation Orange during Work Zone Awareness Week. The list will be updated as additional places are added. Visit for periodic updates.

Operation Orange Participants (As of March 28)

Northwest Region
East Hills Library, St. Joseph
Troop H Highway Patrol
MoDOT District Office, St. Joseph
North Central Region
Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop B Headquarters
MoDOT District Office, Macon

Northeast Region
City of LaGrange
Lincoln County Commission, Troy
Ayers Oil Company, reader boards on major routes
Abel Oil Company, reader boards on major routes
Mercantile Bank, Louisiana
Bank of Lincoln County, Winfield
Jim Trenary Chevrolet, Troy
MoDOT District Office, Hannibal
Maintenance facilities on major routes

Kansas City Area
Kauffman Stadium
Belton Water Tower
Kansas City Parks and Recreation, Wornall Road Bridge at Brush Creek
City of Lee's Summit, Police Station
Downtown (Kansas City) Marriott Hotel
Country Club Plaza, fountain
Unity Village Tower
City of Harrisonville, City Hall
North Kansas City, City Hall
Hampton Inn, Clinton
Memorial Fountain, Grandview
MoDOT District Office and maintenance buildings

Central Region
Boone County Courthouse
Shelter Insurance Gardens - fountain
MoDOT District 5 Office
MoDOT Central Office

St. Louis Area
Six Flags St. Louis - marquee
Lumiere Place
Saint Louis Science Center - Planetarium
Kiener Plaza - fountain
Logan College of Chiropractic
St. Louis Cardinals Busch Stadium - message boards
America's Center - message boards
St. Louis Zoo
Missouri Botanical Gardens - Ridgeway Center
Residence Inn
Balke Brown Associates
Kozeny Wagner Contracting
Larry West, N.B. Contracting
Vinita Park City Hall
MoDOT Transportation Management Center

Southwest Region
Welcome Center, Joplin
MoDOT District Office, Joplin

Springfield Area
Hammons Field, Springfield
Branson Landing, Branson
MoDOT District Offices

South Central Region
Westgate GMAC Real Estate, West Plains
Great Rivers Distributing (Anheuser-Busch Distributor), West Plains
Holiday Inn Express, Rolla
MoDOT District Office

Southeast Region
Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge, Cape Girardeau
City of Cape Girardeau
Cape Girardeau Central High School
Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center
Drury Southwest Signs
Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop E, Poplar Bluff and Sikeston offices
Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce
Pemiscot County Courthouse
City of Farmington, water tower
MoDOT District Office, Sikeston

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

$50 Million Cost Savings Means More Highway Projects Sooner

JEFFERSON CITY – By pinching pennies, estimating construction work to the dime and encouraging innovation, the Missouri Department of Transportation has saved nearly $50 million that will be used to tackle 36 new highway projects this year.

Located throughout the state, the projects include resurfacing, bridge approach repairs, and new signals, lights and signs. Nineteen of the projects were scheduled to be built in the next two years, but now will begin this year. Another 17 projects that will now begin this year were not yet listed on MoDOT’s five-year construction program, which runs through 2012. The new project list can be found at

“Our all-out efforts to cut costs are reaping big rewards,” said MoDOT Director Pete Rahn. “We promised Missourians we would work hard to get the most value out of every dollar we spend. Some of these projects weren’t even listed in our five-year construction program, but now we’re able to get started on them in the next few months. That shows we’re serious about delivering results and building trust.”

Many states have delayed or cancelled projects because of rising construction, material and fuel costs and declining state and federal revenue. MoDOT, on the other hand, has delivered $5.5 billion in road improvements within less than one-tenth of one percent of the budgeted amount since 2003.

The department has also aggressively managed costs by:
· designing projects to fit specific needs, without additional frills;
· rebidding projects if they come in too high;
· closing roads during construction if it saves money and time; and
· asking contractors to use alternate materials, propose innovative design and construction methods and work off-hours.

Delivering projects on time and within budget is no longer viewed as a challenge, but an expectation, Rahn said.

“Saving money, while delivering quality work, is simply MoDOT’s way of doing business,” Rahn said. “We have to show we’re accountable with the funding we’ve been given, before we can ask Missourians to dedicate more revenue toward transportation.”

He said trimming expenses is more critical now than ever as the state faces a significant drop in funding for transportation in 2010. That’s when the bonding proceeds made possible by Amendment 3 end. In addition, the amount of federal funds Missouri can expect to receive for transportation projects is expected to drop 40 percent. Compounding the problem is rising fuel and material costs.

“Our construction program will drop from $1.23 billion this year to $569 million in 2010,” Rahn said. “If something isn’t done to provide more funding, we face returning to the days when people were complaining about how bad our roads were.”

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